In a recent Facebook post, attorney Steven Unthank acknowledged the courage and sacrifices made by children of a congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Victoria, Australia where Unthank said that the children suffered sexual abuse at the hands of fellow church members.
In regards to the children in the Traralgon Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Unthank wrote: “Not only did they symbolically and personally pay for the court filing fees to have the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Watch Tower Society charged with criminal offences over child abuse in Australia, but they also went on to write the ‘Open Letter to the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses…’ This letter was these children’s attempt at seeking redress to the personal harm they suffered, and to being victims of crime committed against them, by a number of elders and members of the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
Since the writing of their letter in January of this year, these children have been shunned by their body of elders and their plight has been ignored by the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses and by the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses – even though two of these children were raped by a fellow congregant and a third child indecently assaulted (of a sexual nature) by an elder within the Traralgon Congregation.
I understand these children, along with members of their family are now preparing a second ‘Open Letter to the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses’, a letter of which, if they can raise the funding, they hope to have published in a New York newspaper as per Jesus’ instructions as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 18.
Why a second ‘open letter’? The children’s first private attempt to sort out the matter with the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses was ignored. So too were a number of attempts by these children’s parents and families in writing about their plight to the Watch Tower Society and even to the ‘faithful and discreet slave’.
These children have simply been ignored and despised even though they followed the Scriptural way in an attempt to resolve problems.
Steven Unthanks says that he was the Acting Prosecutor in five separate criminal court cases before the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria, relating to these children, between July 2011 and February 2012, which included as defendants the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses and a number of Watch Tower Society corporations. Unthank was also the person who reported the rapes and abuse of these children to the police, following the refusal of the Watch Tower Society and the elders in the Traralgon congregation to report these crimes.
The text of the Open Letter as it was published on JWnews.org:
AN OPEN LETTER FROM THE CHILDREN OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES
TO THE GOVERNING BODY OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES
January 1, 2012
To the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses
We were wondering why you did not help look after us and protect us children in Victoria, Australia, by having the elders get their working with children cards and why you have not said sorry for breaking the law.
When us kids are naughty or we do something bad we have to say sorry to the people we did wrong to. This is what Jehovah and Jesus says in the Bible that we must do if we want to be good people. Sometimes when us kids are naughty at home we get ‘time out’ and sometimes if we are really naughty we might also get punished. If we break the rules at school then we can also get ‘time out’ or we might get yard duty or even suspended or expelled.
Why have you not said sorry to us kids and why are you hiding what you did wrong to us? Why has Jehovah not punished you and why are you still elders? Why aren’t you upset that you broke the law and that you did wrong things against us children, the little lambs? We know we are only kids, but why don’t you care about us like Jesus cares about us and all of the children?
Why didn’t you do anything to help us when you were first told about the new laws to protect us children all those years ago? All these good laws try to do is to stop bad people from spending time with us or from trying to hurt us. You could have stopped all these problems if only you listened when you were first told. Now you could go to jail for what you did wrong.
Our parents tell us that Jehovah always disciplines those he loves. Why has Jehovah not disciplined you? Don’t the laws in the Bible apply to you? Do you believe in the Bible and what Jesus says we must do if we sin against other people? Should you still be our elders or our governing body if you break the law and cover this up? Should you brothers be disfellowshipped for breaking the law like when you disfellowship other brothers and sisters when they break the law? Can Jehovah or Jesus use the Watch Tower Society if they know the Society broke the law and are trying to get away with it? Would that make Jehovah and Jesus sharers in the sins of others? It would.
Does Jehovah like elders that are naughty against children or that don’t try to protect them? Are you still allowed to pray to Jehovah? When we are naughty we have to say sorry first before our prayers to Jehovah are heard.
You should go to the courthouse and tell them you are “guilty” and did wrong and say sorry to everyone even if it means getting into trouble. You always tell us in The Watchtower magazine that this is what Jehovah says we must do before he will forgive us. You tell us that pride is why people do not apologise. You tell us that real Jehovah’s Witnesses always say sorry.
Will you please tell us the answers to all our questions and if you will say sorry to us at all for what you have done to us kids? Also, we would like to meet with all of you elders on the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses so you can say sorry to all of us children one at a time. Our parents tell us that this is what Jesus has told you that you must do, say sorry. Our families and us kids would like to meet with all of you at our Traralgon Kingdom Hall before your next criminal court case on February 21, 2012, so you can tell us why you broke the law and to give you the chance to say sorry and make amends. We have a list of how you can make amends.
It makes us sad that you have broken the law for a long time and not said sorry but hide what you have done instead. This is not love. If you do say sorry to us kids and mean it then we will forgive you. This is love.
We are only children but we will be grown-ups one day and then we will learn everything you did to us.
Warmest Christian love,
signed by us kids – the children in the Traralgon Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses for all the children in the State of Victoria, Australia, and the World
P.S. Our parents and families helped us write this letter because this is what Jesus said we must do to those who sin against us. See Matthew 18:15-17. This letter is from us kids because it was us kids that you elders knowingly committed sins and crimes against and then deliberately lied to.